Bruised: Art Action and Ecology in Asia 

RMIT Gallery Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan, Arrivals and Departures (detail), 2019Examining how artists are using creative actions to open discussions around food sustainability and production, environmental catastrophes and human migration in our region, RMIT Gallery presents Bruised: Art Action and Ecology in Asia this April.

When it comes to ways in which artists address ecological issues, actions can be big or small – it’s the action that is important however subtle. Curated by Helen Rayment and Thao Nguyen, the exhibition features 23 Australian and international artists whose work focuses on environmental and social issues in Asia.

“In the face of complex environmental problems, the exhibition examines how artistic response combined with gentle activism can result in a rich legacy and empower further actions in the community,” said Rayment. “Artists and their work are now one the best ways to stay informed about the state of the world. Artists agitate and share stories that we may not otherwise hear.

Highlights of the exhibition include an element of Indonesian artist Tintin Wulia’s major work 855 Kilograms of Homes in Another State – which uses cardboard waste to examine the politics of recycling and the wealth made from human labour, while a living grass installation by Arahmaiani – one of Indonesia’s most respected and iconic contemporary artists, provides a powerful and provocative commentary on land ownership.

The brutal exploration of the palm oil industry is addressed by German artist Armin Linkewhose film investigates the rapidly expanding demand for palm oil and its derivative products and terrifying consequences for Asia’s tropical rainforests.

Using simple materials such as trolleys attached to sculptures of buildings, Isabel and Alfredo Aquizilan’s work reflects on their personal experience of migration from the Philippines, as well as the hardship of such journeys at a time when people are moving around the world at speeds previously unseen in human history.

Emphasising the transformations of landscape and displacement of indigenous communities that accompany development, Balinese artist Made Bayak’s creative practice serves as a space for reimagining history. Visiting Melbourne to perform – his work as an environmental artist critiques capitalism, consumerism, war, oil, and the problems caused by tourism-driven development in Bali.

As part of the exhibition, one entire room in the gallery will be turned into a working kitchen. Bruised Food: a Living Laboratory – a project curated by Marnie Badham and Francis Maravillas, will critically reflect on food and social practice, and present works and events by Elia Nurvista, Arahmaiani, Keg D’Souza, Rhett D’Costa and Stephen Loo.

“The action of creative innovation can have a rich legacy and empower the community. A bruise repairs – this exhibition seeks to deliver hope in the face of our complex environmental problems,” said Rayment.

Bruised: Art Action and Ecology in Asia 
RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Exhibition: 12 April – 1 June 2019
Free admission

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan, Arrivals and Departures (detail), 2019. cardboard, luggage portable trolley – photography by Ejian Studio @ Fang Zheng, Ji He, Wang Wenze, Du Hongbin